The monstrosity was gone – banished by Meloriss – but the whispers still swirled about in the tavern, which now looked more like a morgue. Bodies lay strewn about, the majority felled by the toxic cloud spewed into crowd by the corrupted automata. It was into this scene, as the last remaining survivors (not including our intrepid adventurers) scattered into the tunnels below Sigil’s streets, that Misty – who had ventured out to find Pippa – arrived. Fighting to resist the affects of the maddening whispers, the party worked on sealing the broken door and trying to heal up before the banished automata – if it could still be considered as such – returned. Well, all except for Misty, who started rifling through the pockets of the newly deceased, much to the consternation of the two Harmonium officers.
Eventually, the tavern was sealed (with authority, by Garrick’s Erupting Earth spell) and the party turned to deal with the remaining automata – the Bouncer – in the room. A moment before, as the whispers had been swirling about, it had been shaking, as if buffed by an unseen force. At some point, however, it became stock still and unresponsive. Several members of the party deduced that the whispers had corrupted the tiny oozes that burned the neural pathways into the sensate crystals that comprised its operating system, and was currently undergoing a rewrite. When it came back online, it would no doubt be hostile. Silt started working at separating the head from the body using acid, and was helped by Izzy, who rapidly cooled the exothermic reaction with a blast of her elemental magic and both Codex and Zilia, who hammered it with Eldritch Blasts and a warhammer, respectively. Finally, Pippa completed the task by conjuring a thorn whip and yanking the metal cranium from its body before it reactivated.
Having the better part of a minute left to them before the main antagonist reappeared, the party set up cover, cleared floor space, and continued to heal in preparation. When it reappeared, it managed only to score a couple of hits on Hesken before being taken down by the combined forces of the (partially) rejuventated PC’s, Kenneth, and Meloriss.
Shortly after, the Harmonium arrived, summoned via Leonard’s Harmonium Sending Stone and started taking statements and collecting evidence. Silt managed to talk them into letting her keep the skin that the monstrous automata had draped over its twisted frame, discovering a ring that was on one of the dangling fingers. Inspecting it, the bird woman discovered that it was a Ring of Three Wishes – now down to a single remaining wish – which Misty immediately tried (and failed) to steal.
Even the excitement over getting a wish was quickly overridden by the scene playing out off to the side between Kenneth and Meloriss. They spoke, but the more astute viewers noticed that Kenneth, while obviously smitten, seemed to be chatting like an awkward teenager meeting his fantasy crush for the first time. Meloriss, for her part, was kind, but radiated sadness. Eventually, the two parted, Leonard dragging Kenneth away, and the ladies in the party rounded on Meloriss, determined to get the details on their curiosu relationship.
Meloriss reveled that she and Kenneth had indeed met and lived out their adolescence in a carnival, traveling the planes and seeing many amazing things. Eventually, they decided to strike out on their own, as mercenaries and lovers. Selling their swords eventually led to adventuring with a party – one that was spirited to Sigil by the Lady of Pain in much the same way the PC’s had been recruited. Absentmindedly touching the faded circle under the elegant bracelet on her forearm, Meloriss told them about the Illithid colony that was attempting to gain a foothold in Sigil and overthrow the Lady. During the final battle with the colony’s elders, Meloriss found herself at the mercy of one of the flayers, on the verge of having her brain forcibly extracted. Kenneth threw himself between them, getting a nasty bite on the side of his head (some of the sharp-eyed party members had noticed that Kenneth wore his hair long – covering the scars – whereas all the other Harmonium officers were clean shaven with short hair). Meloriss, freed from the villain’s grip recovered and cut off one of the ’flayer’s four tentacles before it fled. The colony collapsed and the few remaining members that stayed in Sigil became just another gang, struggling for survival in the City of Doors.
Kenneth, unfortunately, had sustained a serious brain injury. While he was healthy in every other respect, his memory and personality were forever changed – including his memories of their time together. Unable to cope with seeing her lover in such a state, she left him in Sigil, where the Lady saw to it he would be taken care of in the Harmonium. It was there that Leonard was assigned to be his minder, patiently helping the former adventurer recover and keeping him out of trouble.
As the party made their way back through the tunnels to the Alehouse Drake (dabbing at what were certainly not tears) they began discuss how a wish might serve to give this tragic tale a happy ending …